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Thread: 6 mo in hospital

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    100

    Default 6 mo in hospital

    I am somewhat familiar with ep'ing with a newborn, I did it for a few weeks with my son, but how often should I be pumping for my 6 mo old? She has been hospitalized in the PICU since Saturday for a very serious infection. SHe has a ventilator and feeding tube- they just started feeding her my breastmilk yesterday thru the tube at a slow rate and they will increase it slowly. I have been trying to pump as often as she ate before this, she was not on any solids yet, but this will be very hard to do. She still nursed often- every 2-3 hours during the day and 2ish times at night (often slept with me and latched while we slept). I won't be able to recreate that often of a schedule with pumping so I guess I just have to do what I can- been trying at least every 3 hours and 1x at night. I know I'm not pumping as much as she ate, but I have never given her a bottle so I don't really know. (I'm getting plus or minus 2oz both breasts combined each time I pump- 8ish x)) Anyway, please offer any advice for ep'ing in this situation. I may try to talk to an LC here at the hospital today. It is guessed that it will be quite a while that she will be here and not nursing for a while. THank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,631

    Default Re: 6 mo in hospital

    Oh my goodness, I am so sorry your baby is ill! That must be intensely frightening.

    In order to maintain supply at the current level, your goal should be to pump about as often as your baby was nursing. Even more frequently would probably be ideal, since pumps aren't as good at emptying the breast as a baby is. But you do what you can do given the time constraints you have! If 8 pump sessions is what you can manage, that's still terrific. Even if you could only pump once a day, that would still be way better than nothing!

    At 6 months, most breastfed babies are still taking just 2-4 oz at a feeding. A really big eater might take more like 3-5 oz. Breastfed babies make up for the small size of the average feeding by nursing frequently. Since most babies eat at least 8-10 times a day, and more during growth spurts, you want to aim to produce about 20-30 oz of milk per day. It's okay if you're not getting this much- hopefully when your baby is feeling better she'll nurse and boost you back up to where you need to be.

    Tips for pumping:
    - Use a hospital-grade pump with correctly sized shields- better pumps usually yield more milk
    - Try power pumping: pump both sides for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, pump for 10, rest for 10, and finally pump one last time for 10 minutes for a total of 30 minutes of pumping in a 1-hour period. Power pumping is supposed to mimic the way an infant feeds and boosts supply during a growth spurt.
    - Minimize your dishwashing workload by keeping a large basin of soapy water by the sink, and throwing bottles and pump parts in as they get used. I found it easier to do one or two big wash-ups per day than a zillion small ones.
    - Get a second set of pump parts.
    - According to my LC, you only need to wash your pump every other time you use it- though perhaps with your baby's illness you need to be more cautious? Anyway, it's usually safe to leave the pump screwed onto the bottle and pop the whole assembly into the fridge after using it. When it's time to pump again, you simply pump new milk on top of old or, if you want to be more cautious, screw a fresh bottle onto the pump.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    291

    Default Re: 6 mo in hospital

    I am really sorry to hear about your baby's illness. My baby was in the NICU as a newborn for an infection and I know how scary it is. We didn't know what the outcome would be and were left in a state of limbo while we waited for test results to come back... it was horrible and the longest days of my life. I think meeting with a lactation consultant is a great idea. If the hospital has a good lactation department, they will want to do everything they can to help you produce milk for your baby--the doctors who cared for my baby in the NICU told me that breast milk was one of the best medicines they have for them. So take advantage of any services they offer. Definitely see if they can set you up with a hospital grade pump if you don't already have one. That will make your pumping sessions much more efficient. The hospital we were at had a pumping room for breastfeeding mothers of patients but they would also bring a Medela Symphony right to your baby's bedside, which made a big difference for me. They also even offered vouchers for free healthy meals to breastfeeding moms of patients in the hospital cafeteria! Makes sense, right?

    As for pumping frequency, you definitely should pump at night like you've been doing, but I agree once per night should be OK. I would say you don't want to go more than 4-ish hours without emptying your breasts but especially if you're doing it with a hospital pump, waking once at night to pump and then making up for the missed nighttime session with an extra session during the day, if possible, should be good.

    Hang in there, mama, and take care of yourself, too. Easier said than done, I know. You're providing something REALLY important for your baby by continuing to produce milk for her. I am wishing for the best outcome for you and your family--I hope you're all safe and sound at home very soon.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    2,207

    Default Re: 6 mo in hospital

    Hi mama, I don't have anything to add to the excellent advice of the PPs, just wanted to say that I am so sorry your baby is in the hospital and I hope she gets better soon. Hang in there.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    100

    Default Re: 6 mo in hospital

    Thank you- I really do feel like this is all I can do for her right now, so every ounce I get makes me feel like I am helping her. Thank you for the advice and experience. I will pump as much as possible.

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